Monday, March 31, 2014

People, Process, and Technology

"In order to successfully implement change, both line managers and IT specialists must give up their beliefs in the magical power of IT.  The hard reality of IT-enabled transformation is that change is everyone’s job."

Technological determinism has been defined as the idea that technological development determines social change. Within our organization, the same is true when we mistakenly believe that the introduction of a new technology will single-handedly enable process improvement and user adoption. Therefore, it is important that we not only focus on the new technology, but also the people and processes driving it.


The people component is the most challenging given the sensitivity of users to change. CRM systems, which support the automation and integration of customer processes, often imply changes in the way users do their day-to-day jobs. It then becomes imperative that users understand why change is happening, and how the change will influence their day-to-day responsibilities. Otherwise, the user will be adverse to those changes and less likely to adopt a new technology.


If employees don’t know the context in which they work, they will be prone to making decisions that aren't in the best interest of the entire process.  It's important that users understand the process from the inside out and the significance of their individual contributions. For instance, I recently had some back and forth support calls with Time Warner Cable regarding issues with my service. Each time I had a different customer service representative, and each time they knew the exact details of my previous conversation. If the employees (people) did not follow through with logging the details of each call, it would have created inefficiencies in the process, wherein I would have had to repeat all previously provided information.


Technology is the least complex of the three; any organization can implement a CRM solution. The competitive advantage is derived from the people and processes behind the technology. How we ultimately decide to leverage Salesforce to innovate our processes is what will differentiate us from our competitors.  As I mentioned previously, understanding the process from the inside out is important. Unless you have a clear understanding of your business process, it will remain unclear which specific tasks in the process can be improved through the use of technology.

I like the People, Process, and Technology perspective because it reminds us that technology alone is not the key to successful IT-enabled transformation. Rather, it is the people leveraging technology to innovate business processes. We must keep these three areas at the forefront of our minds anytime a new technology is adopted.  Most importantly, always remember, change is everyone's job.

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